MTNL searches for another cellco to run its 3G network

Dylan Bushell-Embling
16 Jul 2009

Indian state-owned telco MTNL has begun a search for another telco to operate its struggling 3G network.

It has opened a tender for a telco, offering to share revenues with the successful bidder.

MTNL will pay license costs and other infrastructure fees. The partner will provide end-to-end 3G services, including billing, customer care and marketing, the tender states.

The tender stipulates that only Indian-registered companies or global companies with a presence in India need apply. Applicants must not operate telecom services in either Delhi or Mumbai.

Participants must also have at least 1 million 3G customers in at least two countries, and a minimum turnover of $30 million during the last two years.

The agreement will last for 10 years, subject to a review after three years. MTNL is looking for assurances that the winner will earn at least 300 million rupees ($6.1 million) after the first year of operation, and 2.4 billion rupees after three years.

MTNL was awarded a 3G license ahead of India's spectrum auction on the condition that it match the maximum bid once the auction takes place.

The company currently has 3G networks in Delhi and Mumbai, which have been operational for six months. But MTNL has thus far managed to attract less than 1,000 subscribers, ETsaid.

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